Coastal communities have the potential to provide vital economic, social and recreational opportunities that build on their natural resources. A strategic approach is needed to guide the growth and development of valued waterfront assets. The Charter Township of Harrison, MI, completed a Waterfront Redevelopment Plan that reflects the community’s long-term vision for a four-season waterfront that blends commercial development, environmental protection, mixed uses, and multi-modal transportation.

Located among more than 50 active marinas on Lake St. Clair’s Macomb County coast, Harrison Township seeks to become a premier waterfront destination by strengthening its water-based recreation and commerce. Wade Trim assisted the Township with securing a Michigan Coastal Zone Management Grant, studying waterfront redevelopment feasibility issues and completing their Waterfront Redevelopment Plan. In addition, a Downtown Development Authority was formed and Tax Increment Finance Plan completed to support waterfront redevelopment initiatives.

The Waterfront Redevelopment Plan, prepared as a Subplan to the Township’s 2010 Master Plan, focuses on the 660-acre waterfront district surrounding Crocker Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue. Shaped through a visioning process, the Plan incorporates stakeholder and public input gathered through interviews and a workshop. Key recommendations include preserving the marinas with phased improvements, redeveloping underutilized waterfront properties, encouraging infill commercial development along Jefferson Avenue, and providing more public and recreational access to the waterfront. Development of a new waterfront, mixed-use destination called “Pier Place” is also planned as a recreation and entertainment complex contiguous with marinas and the core commercial area.

“The Coastal Zone Management Grant gave our Board the courage to explore ways to improve one of our waterfront neighborhoods,” stated Kenneth Verkest, Harrison Township Supervisor. “As a result, we are capturing new revenue that will be used to fund public improvements in the area. We are also planning a zoning overlay for the area to encourage a more walkable district and revitalize older properties that are currently limited in their value due to current zoning.”